Nigeria is a country with hope for a better change. Citizens have great dreams that children would live to take over from the older generation but seems to be far from reality. We want a country where children would enjoy the right to education and everyone beaming with smiles. The several challenges facing the country notwithstanding, I love my country.
For any nation to grow and develop, the leadership must have effective plan for the citizens. This, I know, Nigeria has for her people, including children. For a better outcome, there should be proper planning and implementation of programmes to protect and promote children’s rights.
We know that our nation has great plans for us in terms of education as evidenced in section 15 subsection 1-7 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Child’s Rights Act, 2003. The section provides for the child’s right to free, compulsory and universal primary education as well as access to affordable secondary and tertiary education.
Similarly, section 15, subsection 5 also makes provision for pregnant children before completing their education to be given another chance to complete their education while section 15 subsection 4 spells out that a child should be sent to learn an appropriate trade/ vocation after the completion of primary school provided that the child is not capable of continuing his or her education.
Nigeria is my dearly beloved country and as a child, I believe the state would give me priority attention like an orphan who has lost the care of motherhood but picked up be her father to nurture. To achieve better life for children, we desire that the Ministry of Education removes every defect serving as an obstacle to the sound education of every Nigerian child.
This could be made possible by providing free and compulsory basic education for all children, adequate education for rural and urban dwellers, adequate trained teachers, provision of facilities and free food for the needy as well as free stationery for poor pupils and students. When such feat is attained, the standard of education will improve and sound education would be impacted to the citizens.
This would serve the best interests of the children and the nation at large. If the government could fully implement those methods of child education, it would attract and retain children in schools. Pre-school education should also be strengthened by the federal and state ministries of education in Nigeria to incorporate school dropouts and ‘working children’ into schools.
The above would trigger interest in education among working children, their parents and teachers.
It is the duty of governments to provide free early-childhood education and children should be taught about their rights and duties to themselves and the nation. This should be properly captured in their curriculum or syllabus.
This kind of programme may be difficult to achieve in Nigeria unless those in charge of education at the state and national levels are well disciplined, honest, committed and sincere.
In Nigeria today, discipline, honesty, commitment and sincerity are lacking and conscious efforts must be made to restore them. So, the government should appoint people who possess such qualities as minister of Education or commissioner of Education at the state level to ensure that all children are groomed in Nigerian public schools.
In Nigeria, children collectively encounter educational problems because of inadequate and insufficient materials and lack of sound educational planning.
Intelligent people across the country should make drastic changes to ensure quality education of the Nigerian child. Why should many educated Nigerians be teaching and working in other countries around the world when the nation is in dire need of them? They are busy training others across the globe while their own citizens are still suffering from lack of basic education as well as inadequate physical and instructional facilities.
There are a lot of hindrances in the Nigerian educational sector such as lack of well-trained teachers
and lecturers, frequent strike actions by teaching and non-teaching staff, high school fees, among others. These have adversely affected many students and their teachers across the nation. Strike actions subject students to spending more than required years in school which is unhealthy for the nation.
Lack of sufficient facilities is another obstacle confronting students in Nigeria. Such facilities include accommodation, classrooms/ lecture rooms, modern technology and well-equipped labs for students.
Poverty and lack of seriousness on the part of students also contribute to the challenges. The major problem of the education sector is the rate of corruption in Ministry of Education which has great negative impact on the standard of education across the nation.
The Nigerian government has been the major contributor to financing education and should strive to give more inputs for the sound education in the nation. Individuals who have benefitted from government especially in the area of free education should be able to give back to society.
Moreso, the cost of private schools is high and out of reach for the majority of Nigerian parents/ children.
Government should employ well-rained teachers, provide well-equipped classrooms, stationery and good salaries for teachers to facilitate quality education.
These are area the Ministry of Education should seriously consider.
Also, NGOs and some international donor agencies can assist in reshaping education in Nigeria and raising it to the required standards.
Garba is the deputy speaker, Katsina State Children Parliament
SS 3A, Focus International School Funtua,